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Is parent required to pay child support before being ordered by court to do so?

Q. Is parent required to pay child support before being ordered by court to do so? If so, how do we determined the amount?

Every parent should provide financially for his or her child.   Therefore, yes, a parent should support a child even if not ordered to do so by the Court.  In MA paternity cases, a parent may request child support from the other parent retroactively to the date of birth.  That means that even if a case was not filed for several years into the child’s life, the parent can request a support award and arrears stemming from the date of birth.  The award is in the court’s discretion (meaning it is up to the judge whether the retroactive support is awarded).  Therefore, if you do pay support, keep track of your contribution should the other parent seek that support to demonstrate that you have, in fact, contributed financially.   In MA and NH divorce, a parent can request support retroactive to the date that the complaint I served upon the other parent.  Again, this is in the court’s discretion and the award is not guaranteed.

Protecting Your Children From Sexual Predators – Part III

In our last two related posts, we wrote about ways you can take precautions to protect your child from sexual predators who are related to the child - either by blood or marriage or are acquaintances to you or your child.  In this third and final article of this three...

I am going to file for divorce myself. I may hire a lawyer later. However, when do I have to move out of the home?

This is a tough question to answer without knowing more about your case. The status of the marital home varies from case to case and is different in New Hampshire than it is in Massachusetts. Is the home being sold? If so, by whom and when? Is your spouse keeping the...

Do I have to pay child support without a court order?

Do I have to pay child support without a court order?  This is a question that I see often in my practice. The answer is two-fold: there’s the legal advice and the practical advice. Picture this:  you and your partner have separated. You’ve moved out of the home. ...

I Want Her Out Now!

I want him/her out - now! When a married couple agrees to divorce, it signals the end of the union. However, it is easy to recognize that there are still many unanswered questions. I am often  asked this question by one of the parties: "We have already agreed the...

5 Appeals Cases To Follow and Why

Although there are a number of high profile wrongful conviction cases in the news, they are still a small percentage of all convictions. The news media would like to have us believe that all police investigations are tainted and that all detectives are on the take...

Substance Abuse and Parenting

A parent or other caregiver with an alcohol or drug addiction has a profound impact on their children.  Substance abuse and parenting are more common than most people realize.  Unfortunately, the parent does not always see that his or her behavior is harmful or won’t...

Massachusetts: The Annie Dookhan Drug Lab Scandal

Update: if you have not watched Netflix’s “How to Fix a Drug Scandal”, we recommend you do so. It discusses this case and the Sonja Farak case.  If you feel you have been impacted by either of these, please contact us. By now I am sure that a lot of you have heard of...

Can I lose my inheritance to child support?

Can I lose my inheritance to child support? The question you are asking can also be stated as:  Can the Court award child support based on the money I received in an inheritance? Child support is based on income. It is not based on gifts or inheritances.  For example,...

Custody Case Takes a Turn – The Brad Pitt Saga

If you’re not living under a rock, and if you are a loyal reader here on my site, I am sure you’ve heard about the custody battle between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Some months ago, Angelina claimed that Brad abused their child and sought full custody of all six...

Why do I need a Will?

Why do I need a Will? Welcome back to my series on estate planning. In case you are just joining me, I want to let you know that we are mid-series in a string of articles about estate planning. Page back to Why do I need an Estate  and see what you’ve missed and stick...

Estate Planning After Divorce

Estate Planning After Divorce After a divorce, the last thing that anyone wants to think about is seeing an attorney, legal matters, planning the future, that sort of thing. The sad truth is that this is probably the most important time to get your estate plan revised...

The Queen Had Soul But No Will

Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, was recently laid to rest.  Her service was like no other in our history.  Musicians from all genres came out to pay respects with praise and song for a women who battled against the odds to become one of the true legends of our...

Can I get an Annulment, please?

What is an Annulment? In Massachusetts, an annulment is a statement by the Court that you were never legally married. Unlike divorce, which acknowledges that you were married and then terminates that marriage, annulment it is as if the marriage never happened. ...

Should Siblings Be Separated by Divorce

When a couple divorces, it is difficult on the entire family.  Often it can be most difficult for the children of the marriage.  Depending on the age of the children, someone has to decide where they will live.  Typically, couples split and the children stay together...

Avoiding Legal Issues

In my previous article, “What Type of Attorney Should I Hire,” I wrote about the importance of speaking with an attorney early on in your case to maximize any potential outcome you may have as well as choosing the right attorney for the type of situation, rather than...

Parental Alienation – Things to Watch

Over the recent month I have written about parental alienation in a couple of articles.  It is one of those painful situations for both the parents and the children and it's something that does not have to happen at all.  Often the process begins slowly and builds...

2017 Child Support Guidelines – Overview

As most of you know, the new version of the child support guidelines has now been released and were effective beginning September 15, 2017.  Every four years, a task force reviews input and issue regarding the guidelines, making changes to accommodate problematic,...

Statutes, Retrials & Double Jeopardy

If you have seen the news this week, you may have noticed that actor and comedian Bill Cosby is back in court over charges of sexual assault.  While that may not be big news, the overall landscape regarding his crimes is big news.  His alleged crimes, the way they...

Topics You Should Discuss With Your Divorce Lawyer

Hiring a divorce lawyer is the first important step in a long list of your divorce. Once you retain a lawyer it is vitally important that you communicate openly and honestly with her.  She is there to to advocate for you to get the best solution for your situation. We...

What To Do (and Not Do) If Your Spouse Is Cheating

It’s a difficult prospect to think that your spouse may have strayed from your marriage.  Most people find this shocking and upsetting, not knowing what to do (and what not to do)  if your spouse is cheating.  It's hard to decide at that moment about your marriage,...

Estate Planning: Planning Ahead

Nobody wants to think about their death. It's unpleasant no matter how you look at it.  However, planning ahead is more than simply dividing up your worldly assets.  It can ensure that your children are cared for by the person that you prefer. Planning ahead can...

How do you defeat a prenuptial agreement? (The Bobby Flay Story)

How do you defeat a prenuptial agreement? I’m sure that you’ve seen the latest celebrity news scandal about Bobby Flay and his wife, Stephanie March: Bobby allegedly cheated on her with various women and has now filed for divorce (just after being thrown out of the...

Should I contact an Attorney about Divorce?

If you’re having trouble in your marriage, you feel overwhelmed.  You feel like it's going to get better, yet it never does.  Your friends and family may be unaware of the true depth of your situation.  Often this is when you may think: "should I contact an attorney...

The Importance of an Appeal

Aaron Hernandez, famed football player who was convicted of murder and later, committed suicide has, once again, been in the news.  You may recall that before his death, his murder conviction was working its way through the stages of the Appeal's Court.  Aaron...

What are temporary orders in Massachusetts?

What are temporary orders in Massachusetts? ​When a divorce begins, rarely do the parties consider temporary orders in Massachusetts to be a necessity, however they ask the court for many things.  When the divorce begins, the parties rarely sit in a position to agree...

Why Family Should Not Provide Your Legal Representation

It's a common situation.  A person is in need of legal representation for one reason or another, and because of restricted funds, reaches out to a family member who is also an attorney.  The family member, be it a brother, sister, aunt, uncle, parent or child, wants...

Convicted of OUI May Get New Trial

If you follow our blogs or the local news, you may have read about an issue involving the breathalyzers used in Massachusetts for the detection of alcohol. The Draeger Alcotest 9510 is being challenged by defense attorneys, alleging that the results may be inaccurate...

Massachusetts: Joint Petition or Complaint for Divorce

In Massachusetts, there are two ways by which a party can file for a divorce. The first is commonly known as a “joint petition.” The second is commonly referred to as a “complaint for divorce.” A “joint petition” is filed when the parties agree on how to resolve all...

Custody: Can My Child Decide?

Very often I am asked “when can my child decide choose where he lives?” or “at what age will the Court listen to my children’s input?” The short answer to this question is that there is no “magic age” to answer "can my child decided" which the court will let the child...

Can You Get a Divorce Reversed?

Sometimes one or more parties to a divorce will be unhappy with the results of the divorce order and may wish to have the result reconsidered.  For whatever reason the question becomes "can you get a divorce reversed?".  This process of having the order reconsidered...

What is the Automatic Restraining Order?

When a Divorce is filed, an automatic restraining order on assets immediately applies. This prohibits you, and your spouse, from encumbering, selling or transferring certain marital assets during the pendency of the divorce proceedings. Notice of this automatic...

Is Your Child Being Abused?

A common worry for parents often centers around protecting their child from people who prey on children.   Most children spend their days away from their parents in the care of others, in school, kindergarten, daycare and so forth.  So, what if you suddenly notice...

What is Sole Custody?

Often people come to me and want “sole custody” of their child.  What does this mean?  Is it often awarded?  Why? How can you convince the Court to award it to you?  Sole Legal Custody in MA:   In Massachusetts, the Court will award “legal” custody, which refers...

Who Gets Our Family Dog in the Divorce?

It's a common scenario.  Boy meets girl and they fall in love.  They buy a home or rent an apartment.  Wanting to share their love, they adopt a dog. Over the next year or so, they get married.  Their dog is their baby.  They share photos of him on social media sites,...

A Child’s Right to Decide: New Hampshire

New Hampshire: When can my children decide in whose home they want to live? Okay,  New Hampshire readers – I promised you would hear my thoughts on a child's right to decide shortly, so here it is. The law in New Hampshire is different than that in Massachusetts. Read...

I Want to Fire My Lawyer!

If you have every said "I want to fire my lawyer, you are not alone".  Many times during a case it can seem confusing or overwhelming.  If you are frustrated or dissatisfied with your attorney, are not happy with the speed, outcome or method of the case, or are at the...

Legal Meaning of the Cosby Mistrial

I’m sure you’ve all heard by now that Bill Cosby’s trial resulted in a mistrial on Saturday.   The jury came back to the judge, for the second time, on Saturday and informed him that they could not reach a verdict.  As a result, the Court declared a “mistrial.” So,...

Changing Attorneys Mid-Case

Changing Attorneys Mid-Case Often, folks just like you call me part way through a divorce, or even after a divorce is over, that say that are not satisfied with their attorney.  Most people feel that if they have hired someone, they “probably shouldn’t” switch...

What Constitutes Parental Abduction?

It's a sickening thought, wondering if your child may be abducted by your ex-spouse and taken without your consent, outside of the court's order, maybe even across state lines. Parental abduction is a form of kidnapping in many states.  But what are your legal rights...

Making an Appeal in Massachusetts

Update: In recent news, Avery's attorneys have submitted a number of appeals documents.  Several of these have been denied, however it appears one or more of these are still winding their ways up through the Appeals Courts.  Brandan Dassey, however, may have exhausted...

Blanchette: Case on Appeal

Recently the New Hampshire Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Ernest Justin Blanchette, a former deputy sheriff charged with sexual assault of an inmate during transport from the Belknap County jail to the state prison for women in Goffstown. This case shows...

Who wants a Life Estate?

I am sure that you’ve all heard the recent news that Hugh Hefner put the Playboy Mansion up for sale.  For a mere $200 mill, you can purchase the mansion and call it your own – with one catch!  Hugh will live out the remainder of his life at the mansion before you can...

Can I stop paying my child support without going to Court?

Often things happen that makes a parent think that they are no longer required to pay child support. A daughter joins the military. A son drops out of college. A child graduates high school and is going to college part time and working part time but still living with...

What Happens to the Family Home in a Divorce?

A large concern during divorce consultation is the marital home. What will happen? Can I stay? Will I be forced out? Can I afford it? How will the Court decide to which party the home is awarded? The answers to these questions will often determine the outcome of other...

Divorce and Drama…oh the Drama!

We laugh about it when we see it on TV.  We shake our heads in disbelief when our friends tell us about it in their lives.  But suddenly, you find yourself in the midst of a divorce and right smack in the middle of a real life reality drama series just like those made...

Communicating on Social Media During Divorce

If you have read the news recently, you probably noticed that social media has come under fire for a couple of things.  First, social media outlets have been accused of creating fake news.  Second,  Facebook has been accused of allowing hackers to integrate its system...

The New Tax Bill & Alimony

It's a new year and we thought we would start it off with an article about something that's been all over the news for weeks - the new tax bill.  Some love it.  Some hate it.  Some have no idea that there is a new tax bill.  One thing is for sure: there will be...

Massachusetts: Parent Education Program Attendance

All parties to a divorce action in which there are minor children, are ordered to attend and participate in an approved Massachusetts Parent Education Program. This requirement applies to divorces brought under Ch. 208 §1 (fault divorces); and Ch. 208 §1A and §1B...

Marital Property: What is it?

Far too often I meet with a client for consultation who is concerned that a certain asset is not a marital asset because it is not “in [their] name.” A client may say “well, we have a home but it is in his name only” or “I don’t have a retirement account, but she...

The Safe Driving Law in Massachusetts

There is a lot of press recently about texting while driving all over our country but particularly in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Many states have banned texting while driving. There are commercials on TV about texting while driving. There are signs on the...

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